Monday, May 31, 2010

Theodore Payne Nursery

My fabulous sister-in-law gifted me the best planter for my birthday. It's an enormous rugged barrel, that she picked up in wine country. The inside is stained a gorgeous dark purple, and when it arrived it still smelled of cabernet - needless to say, I love it!

But the first step to loving it more was to fill it with dirt. So sad to cover up that beautiful stain, but it was necessary.

I want to fill my garden with native sustainable plants, so I went to the once native sustainable nursery I know of... Theodore Payne. While there, a wonderful woman helped me and my mother make sense of all the plants. Because they're natives, they weren't all in bloom, so it took a little imagination to put together an arrangement (unlike commercial nurseries where plants are purchased in bloom.)

I decided on four plants:
  • Salvia "Allen Chickering" Sage - a tall, purple, fragrant bloom
  • Firecracker - a mid-height red flower
  • San Bruno Mountain Golden Aster - a low, yellow daisy-like bud
  • and Manzanita

After planting them in a mixture of cactus soil and gardening soil, I gave them a good soak.

And then sat back and enjoyed how pretty it looks! I can't wait to see all the colors in bloom!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wednesday Night Randomness

The strongest of all warriors are these two—Time and Patience.
~Leo Tolstoy

I'm in the middle of doing homework this evening and ran into this quote from War and Peace. I think this might be my new favorite.

Oh, and here's a picture of my cat, she's definitely a favorite as well... and has lots of time on her hands... but isn't really patient.

Alright, that's enough procrastination - back to homework!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Bestest Birthday Present

My sweet wonderful niece, Ava Mae, said "Happy Birthday Aunt Sheryl" - bestill my heart!! I love that little girl. I didn't catch the full sentence on video, but here is my precious Ava helping out with the birthday song!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

You say it's MY birthday!

Today is my birthday!

Last Saturday I got to celebrate with friends, cake, and table linens.

I got to buy new napkins, break out the wedding china, and arrange flowers. The Victorian in me loved every minute of setting that table.

My wonderful hubby made shrimp gambas, chicken roulade with arugula, feta and roasted red pepper, and lemon pasta.

My fabulous friend, Marsha, got me a Suburban Cowgirl cake, yee haw! It was chocolate with champagne strawberry filling. Um, can we say "yum"?

And of course, the best was just getting to sit down for dinner with my fabulous friends!

I do love a dinner party :-)

Just sharin' a few pics!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Call the "Wah"bulance

Today, in the midst of getting increasingly stressed out over things not going my way, I realized that my problems are so small... they're not problems at all.

1. The people I hire to clean my house didn't show up.
As I'm on the phone telling them I'm having people over tomorrow for dinner and it's imperative they come as early as possible tomorrow I realize that I'm a brat. And wonder... how many times has my mother had her home cleaned by strangers before guests come. That's right. Probably not many.

2. The interior designer, Axle, cancelled my appointment to do a window consultation.
I don't even need to explain why this is ridiculous. There is no reason to actually be upset. Especially when you're talking about a guy named... Axle.

3. I had to drive to three different places before I found a nail salon that would take me for a pedicure.
Umm... even while I was driving around, getting increasingly annoyed at the waste of time, I was realizing this isn't something a grown up should actually be upset over. After all, I could probably cut my own toe nails.

Wow. I'm a brat. I need to keep that in check. I don't think the "wah"bulance would even bother to show up on this one.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mimulus Puniceus... aka Miss Monkey Flower

Meet mimulus puniceus... isn't she beautiful? She's a Monkey Flower, and for our story, let's call her Miss Monkey Flower.

She's is a native California flower that originates from San Diego. Let's revel in her beauty for a moment... faint orange flowers, with papery delicate petals, so fragile, so pretty. Definitely a Miss.

I got her as a present from one of my coworkers. Or really, from my coworkers husband. Native gardening is his hobby. He loves it, and teaches it to others. He's the kind of guy who has such intense hobbies, and does them so well and with such fervor that you wonder what in the world you're wasting your own free time on. But I digress.

Back to Miss Monkey Flower. So she was propagated from a plant in Griffith Park by my coworker's husband. He took her home, planted the clipping, nurtured it, and then sent it to work with his wife. Thank you!!!

Here's a picture of her in the office, kinda nice, right? But I soon learned that the problem with having something that was propagated from a plant in a park, and then nurtured in dirt outside, is that when you bring it inside, it sometimes invites its friends...

So in my first watering, I picked up Miss. Monkey Flower, and saw movement. I saw. A millipede. I would have taken a picture... but it was fast. And for something an inch long... kinda scary.

(It's my personal opinion that animals, err organic creatures, should have either two or four legs. None is definitely scary, and more than four gets exponentially creepier the more legs you add. Think about it, and ant... okay, I can handle that. A spider? It's time to call for reinforcements.)

Rest in peace, millipede. Rest in peace.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

"My" Pioneer Woman's Sesame Noodles

Tonight, we're making the absolute most simple and delicious dinner... Simple Sesame Noodles (ala Pioneer Woman - my hero), and serving it up with a rotisserie chicken and some fresh broccoli.

I feel it is a public service to share the link to one of my favorite "on-the-fly" dinners. This dish rocks!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

Today, I'm celebrating the two mothers who have made me an AUNT!!! I adore my Ava, Ross and Caiden, the three best babies in the whole wide world! (Oh my goodness, at 3, 2, and 18 months, there growing up so fast!!!)

So to Alissa - Happy Mother's Day!! I hope to one day be as calm, nurturing, and completely dedicated as you are with your wonderful son, my handsome nephew!

And to Joy - Happy Mother's Day! You are proof that a woman can really do it all... family, school, and career, nothing gets in your way! Ava and Rossy are the bestest!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Girl Cooks Indian

So... I've spent hours, that have added up to days, that have added up to weeks sitting in a conference room with my wonderful friend, Reeta. While our eyes became strained and bleary from scanning thousands of lines of Excel, we talked to maintain our sanity. And we talked. And we talked.

Subjects have ranged from boys, to crazy Korean spa experiences, to things that cannot be spoken of on the Internet.

And then one day, I mentioned that I'd like to make Indian food. And then the next day, Reeta brought me a cookbook to borrow - Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking (an Expanded New Edition of the Classic on Indian Cooking).

So the next Friday night, my hubs got to eat this... Chicken Masala on Basmati Rice with a side of Spinach and Onions and Garlic Naan.

And this was made from this (please note, in my first attempt at food blogging, I have left off most of the ingredients that made it into the dish... and left in the drink I was partaking while making the dish):

And while chopping up the onions... I looked like this:

Sorry for the awful pic... but I can't help myself. Wow, do I hate choppin' onions!!!

The dinner was delish! And the recipe is below:

5 tbl veg oil
3/4 tsp cumin seeds
1 inch cinnamon stick
6 cardamom pods
2 bay leaves
1/3 tsp peppercorns
1 large onion chopped
6 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 can crushed tomatoes
3 lb chicken breast, cubed
1 1/2 salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp garam masala

Put the oil in a large, wide pan and set over medium-high heat. When hot, put in the cumin seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, bay leaves and peppercorns. Stir once and then put in the onions, garlic and ginger. Stir this mixture around until the onions pick up brown specks. Now put in the tomatoes, chicken, salt and cayenne pepper. Stir to mix and bring to a boil. Cover tightly, turn heat to low and simmer for 25 min, or until the chicken is tender. Stir a few times during the cooking period. Remove cover and turn up heat to medium.

Sprinkle in the garam masala and cook, stirring gently, for about 5 minutes.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Update! The Reckoning

Last night I was reviewing my Finance terms for the 50,000th time in the hour before my final, when my Marketing prof came up to me. He literally patted me on the back (how often does that happen?) and told me my paper was "excellent"!

Okay, I know it's just a paper that no one else will read, but I can't help it. I'm all proud of myself.

Enough being happy, back to studying! Two finals down, one to go!